After triumphing over yet another ranked opponent this season, the UC Santa Barbara softball team now prepares for a future conference adversary.

UCSB (21-14 overall, 0-6 in the Big West) encounters unranked UC Davis (24-14-1) this weekend in the teams’ final meeting before the Aggies enter the conference in the 2007-08 season. In the first three contests of a six-game homestand, the Gauchos will look to strengthen their confidence before returning to Big West play for their matchup with Cal State Northridge the following week.

“Davis is a strong team even though they are not a full-fledged member of the Big West Conference yet,” Head Coach Kristy Schroeder said. “Whether it’s conference or nonconference, we have to play every game like it’s our last.”

The Aggies will arrive at Campus Diamond having won four of their last five games, including victories over UC Riverside and Sacramento State this past week. UC Davis boasts a pair of reliable pitchers in sophomore Jessica Hancock (11-8) and senior Lindsay Tognetti (12-4), who have combined for 268 strikeouts this year. No player dominates the Aggies’ offense, which features four players batting over .300 with more than 30 hits a piece. Senior shortstop Mandi Salcido leads the team with a .350 batting average and 24 RB.

Despite their difficult series against Pacific last weekend, the Gauchos did have a bright spot at the plate in sophomore second baseman Christine Ramos who went 5-for-12 against the Tigers and currently leads the team in several statistical categories including a .379 batting average, 44 hits and 24 runs on the season.

The three-game series kicks off with Saturday’s first pitch set for 12 p.m.